180 divorces granted to Italian couples exposed as being
fraudulent and at risk of being rescinded by the Family Division of
the High Court.
Britain's top family judge has been asked to cancel 180
divorces after being told the UK courts have been exploited in a
massive "fraud" by Italians seeking a quick end to their
In an ongoing hearing pending before the High Court, watched
closely by a representative of the Italian government, Sir James
Munby, president of the Family Division, heard that up to 180
Italian Couples lied in the petition by faking residency in order
to avoid expensive divorce in Italy and the lengthy Italian divorce
process. Simon Murray, for the Queen's Proctor – the
barrister who represents the Crown – has obtained permission
to intervene and submitted that approximately 180 petitions for
divorce, involving Italian residents, had been advanced on a false
basis as the residence requirements were not met in any of the said
180 petitions and the court had no jurisdiction to entertain the
proceedings. In an unprecedented move, on 30 October 2013 the Court
was asked to overturn the decrees nisi and decrees absolute which
have been granted in all 180 cases and to dismiss each of the
Divorce was only introduced in Italy in 1970 and Italian couples
face a mandatory three-year period of legal judicial separation
before being able to apply for divorce. In most cases, the entire
divorce process could take up to 5 years as a result of the
complexity of Italian bureaucracy and renowned slowness of the
Italian judicial system.
The recent most notable case of Italian divorce was Silvio
Berlusconi, former Italian prime Minister, who separated from his
then wife Veronica Lario in 2009 and has only been able to apply
for divorce few months ago.
"As a result of Italian archaic legislation on the
dissolution of matrimonial affairs – says
Gabriele Giambrone, Senior Partner of
Giambrone Law – over the recent years more and more
Italians have recently embarked in forum shopping around EU member
states, mainly England and Rumania, by circumventing these Italian
mandatory rules and using European Union legislation which
recognizes divorces granted in any EU member state. The
consequences for the individuals implicated in this fraudulent
scheme may be far reaching: – adds Giambrone- Divorces
obtained illegally or fraudulently overseas will not be recognised
in Italy and, if any of the 180 couples has remarried in Italy in
the meantime, they are at risk of being deemed bigamist in law,
which is considered to be an additional criminal offence so they
are also at risk of criminal prosecution in Italy"
The English Courts have no jurisdiction to consider divorce
applications by parties who are both resident abroad and, in the
case of cross-border divorces, under English law a person seeking a
divorce in England has to prove to have been habitually resident in
England for a period of at least six months immediately before
issuing a petition of divorce, or that the respondent was
habitually resident within the jurisdiction
The divorce fraud was allegedly organised by a divorce agency
charging up to €4,000 for a quick divorce, with a Post Office
box in Maidenhead being used to establish residency by one of the
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Family law is easily misunderstood and its realities can get in the way of a good storyline; nobody really wants to watch reasonable and calm lawyers helping parties negotiate sensible solutions in an amicable way.
"The Family Code of Ukraine of 10 January 2002 No. 2947-III" (effective since 2004) ("Family Code"), sets out the basic principles and regulations of property relations of spouses, including civil agreements, which may be entered into by and between spouses.
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